Police in northern Quang Tri Province have arrested a self-proclaimed telepath for allegedly swindling others by falsifying findings of remains of Vietnamese revolutionarysoldiers who died during the Vietnam War to pocket US$350,000.
The “telepath”, Nguyen Thanh Thuy, 54, and his wife, Man Thi Duyen, 51, were seized at home in Cho Town, Bac Ninh Province on Monday on charges of “swindling to appropriate assets,” pursuant to Article 139 of the Penal Code, police said.
The couple will be detained for four months during investigation of their acts of forging remains, relics, and burial sites to appropriate VND7.5 billion ($354,000) from the Vietnam Bank for Social Policies.
Police also searched their house and their Toyota Land Cruiser Prado car, finding handcuffs, an electric baton, a long knife, a flick knife, and a dagger.
After arresting the couple, the police escorted them to Quang Tri the same day.
In 1996, Thuy and Duyen were arrested by Bac Ninh police and tried on charges of swindling, appropriating assets, and storing weapons illegally. After serving sentences, they were released. Thuy has since claimed to have extrasensory perceptions that aid him in the discovery of dead soldiers’ remains.
According to the case file, in January 2013, the Vietnam Bank for Social Policies set up a fund for the search of fallen soldiers’ remains, and the work has since been carried out by the bank’s trade union and “telepath” Thuy.
The first search for remains was carried out by a search team on January 28, 2013, in Xa Cam 1 hamlet, Hung Chien Ward, Binh Long District, Binh Phuoc Province. The team discovered 15 sets of remains and confirmed they were of Vietnamese soldiers who died in the Vietnam War.
However, the provincial Military Command did not agreed to the affirmation, since the “remains” did not appear to be human bones and there was a suspicious amount of cement and sand found inside them.
Nonetheless, two other searches were continued in the Central Highlands province of Dak Lak and a fourth search took place on July 25, 2013 in Quang Tri.
That day, a search team including staff members of Vietnam Bank for Social Policies and Thuy, arrived in Lam Xuan hamlet, Gio Mai, Gio Linh District to conduct a search, which was also witnessed by the representatives of the Military Commands of the province and district, and the provincial Department of labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs.
After performing a necromancy ritual for 30 minutes, Thuy plunged three sticks of incense into three points on the ground, marking them as areas containing soldiers’ remains.
An excavation was carried out at one of these three locations. After digging about 70 cm underground, workers were surprised to find many cajuput leaves that were still fresh. They continued to dig 30 cm deeper and found remains that were covered with a layer of yellowish brown soil, which was completely different from the color of the surrounding soil.
In another hole, three soldier’s water bottles were found. They were all rusted, each with a name carved on the front. One of the names was Ta Van Tin, of central Quang Binh Province.
All three sites found by Thuy were near cajuput trees that were grown 3-4 years ago.
The excavations ended late that night, with nine sets of remains found.
After witnessing the search, Colonel Tran Minh Thanh, political commissar of the provincial Military Command, refused to confirm the remains to be those of fallen Vietnamese soldiers.
In his excavation report, Thanh noted suspicious signs related to the remains and the burial sites. In response, the Command reviewed archives of fallen soldiers provided by the Defense Ministry and discovered that Tin died in a battle in Huong Hoa District and not in Gio Linh.
The search team requested that Colonel Thanh confirm the remains as those of fallen soldiers, but Thanh decisively refused.
However, during four searches conducted in the three provinces, the team claimed they had found and recovered more than 100 sets of soldiers’ remains.
For each “set of remains”, the above bank paid Thuy VND75 million ($3,530); the “telepath” thereby received a total of VND7.5 billion.
On August 1, a group of bank workers led by Duong Quyet Thang, general director of the bank, arrived in Quang Tri and had a meeting with the provincial Military Command and the Department of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affair, to persuade them that the discovered remains were indeed of fallen soldiers.
Thang introduced two people to provincial officials as those who had carved the names on the water bottles before burying them along with the bodies of the three soldiers during the war.
However, leaders of Quang Tri province did not accept their claims. They requested that all the remains be transferred to the Military Forensic Institute for DNA tests. They also ordered police to launch an investigation that later led to the arrest of Thuy and his wife.
The police are continuing to investigate the case.
Đăng ký: VietNam News